Co-feeding as a route for transmission of Rickettsia conorii israelensis between Rhipicephalus sanguineus ticks
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- Zemtsova, G., Killmaster, L.F., Mumcuoglu, K.Y. et al. Exp Appl Acarol (2010) 52: 383. doi:10.1007/s10493-010-9375-7
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Rickettsia conorii is widely distributed in Europe, Asia, and Africa. The brown dog tick, Rhipicephalus sanguineus, is the recognized vector of R. conorii. In this study, we assessed the efficiency of R. conorii israelensis transmission between co-feeding Rh. sanguineus ticks. Infected Rh. sanguineus adults and uninfected nymphs were fed simultaneously upon either naïve dogs or a dog previously exposed to this agent. When ticks were placed upon naïve dogs, 92–100% of nymphs acquired the infection and 80–88% of infected engorged nymphs transmitted it transstadially. When ticks were placed upon a seropositive dog, only 8–28.5% of recipient nymphs became infected. Our results establish the first evidence for efficient natural transmission of R. conorii israelensis between co-feeding ticks upon both naïve and seropositive dogs. This route of transmission can ensure continuous circulation of R. conorii israelensis in tick vectors even in the absence of naïve reservoir hosts.